To BCYF, living out their CSR 3.0 is all part of their ultimate goal: to keep true to their faith in God. As my recent posts in this Serial and even the Learnings from His Holiness section imply or state, true love for God cannot be limited to literally just between Him and me, as a love for God necessitates – presupposes, even – concrete acceptance of our social responsibility in our fellowmen’s capacity as fellow creations – and stewards of such – of God.
This morning, I chanced upon the following piece of news online:
It scared me not because of the nature of the disease (which in itself is nerve-wrecking, literally and figuratively), but because of this, which my cousin explained to us during our Christmas trip to Tagaytay last December. Supposedly, it was a series of prophecies made by an Indian Christian prophet, the sadhu (the title for an Indian holy man) Sundar Selvaraj, through an interpreter, at the 24th National Prayer Gathering in the Cuneta Astrodome last April 2013. The prophecy predicted both the Bohol earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda of October and November 2013, and warned that unless the Philippines repents, there will be many more. He also apparently predicted the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami.
One of the predicted “plagues” was a flesh-eating disease that would hail from the north of the Philippines.
If I had the power to make it vanish like smoke by closing my eyes I would. But of course, only God can avert these things. I spent the first few hours of my morning reading the Filipino masses’ reactions to the prophecy on the link I shared above, and their replies frankly astounded me. Naturally, and thankfully, a lot of the commenters called on us to turn back to God in an increasingly godless world – worldliness, we are reminded here, is the workings of Satan.
But other replies were either annoying or just plain confounding. Some blasted the Indian prophet for being a hypocrite to himself and his country, where crime and corruption also are supposedly rampant. One even theorized that all our recent disasters starting from Pinatubo were actually secretly manmade by the US to get us to be dependent on them (Sidney Sheldon’s 2004 novel Are You Afraid of the Dark? comes to haunt me), as World War II and its aftermath reminds us we are such a strategic location for the US in Asia.
Others questioned why, of all nations, it was the Philippines that was getting hard-hit by all these – surely, other countries “deserve” to be struck down by calamities more? I like one comment that said it’s not a question of how we fare relative to other countries, but how we were before and now in the eyes of God. Many others said that the fact that we were the ones being warned and struck meant that, like a loving parent who disciplines their children, God loves us very much as He loved Israel – that, in a way, we are His “chosen people” today.
Some commenters believe Sadhu Selvaraj a fraud, citing examples from the Bible to prove so. Others believe that his words run contrary to New Testament teachings of Jesus, who preaches that God is a God of love and will not draw people to Him through fear, which I’m sure is the feeling the prophecy – and its unfolding months after its utterance – gives. However, one cannot deny that Pangasinan’s recent outbreak is the third prediction the sadhu gave that came true – just in the Philippines! And many more are to come.
Are the calamities truly signs of Heaven’s wrath as predicted? Or are they the consequences of our actions, the result of God-given freedom misused and abused? If God is a loving God, then He will not spare us the results of our actions, but merely allow them to happen by the laws of nature, hoping that through the experience, we learn and become better persons trudging towards His greater glory, manifested through successful stewardship of creation.
In an increasingly suspicious and secular world as ours, we may not truly, definitely know if Sadhu Selvaraj is really a prophet the way Job and John the Baptist were. After all, we cannot fully comprehend God lest we become His equal, which breaks the First Commandment. But his message is clear: We Filipinos have deviated from our God-fearing ways and may be worshipping Him only by mouth, but our hearts do not necessarily correspond. Corruption in both the private and public sector is rampant, unjustly enriching the lives of perhaps less than 5% of the population at the expense of millions of others who do not even get to eat three times a day. Then, we claim to justify our actions, remaining blind to the reality that our actions are resulting in, around us.
We may not be worshipping other gods, but a new age of idolatry has entered the world – the idolatry of money, of fame, of materialism. We have forgotten to put God at the center of our lives, instead allowing profit and consumerism to dictate our everyday actions. We have forgotten our responsibility for others, the living testament of our so-called faith in and love for God.
And that is why it is crucial to be a good citizen, one who is mindful of sustainable development, and who is aware of their social responsibilities. If we humble ourselves and pray, and turn from our wicked ways – if we make the choice to do our part – then there will be no terrible consequences to suffer from.
The American televangelist Cindy Jacobs also made prophecies for the Philippines. Like Sadhu Selvaraj, only God can say if she is truly channeling His word to humanity (she predicted in the 2001 video below the hazes of Indonesia that shut down Singapore last year), but what she says here mirrors the youth’s movement to end poverty and rebuild the nation once and for all.
Her frightening voice aside, this is a beautiful prophecy. It predicts the excellence of the Filipino and the rise of its modern-day heroes. The true CSR practitioners and social entrepreneurs.